May 2nd, 2012
04:18 PM ET
North Carolina pastor retracts sermon remarks about punching gay kids
By Stephen Walsh, CNN
(CNN) - A Fayetteville, North Carolina, pastor has retracted controversial language used during a weekend sermon in which he instructed parents to hit children who exhibited behavior associated with homosexuality.
“I apologize to anyone I have unintentionally offended,” Sean Harris, pastor of Berean Baptist Church wrote in a statement on his church’s website. “I did not say anything to intentionally offend anyone in the LGBT community.
“My intent was to communicate the truth of the Word of God concerning marriage,” the statement continued. “My words were not scripted. It is unfortunate I was not more careful and deliberate.”
Harris’s remarks at his church came a week before the state’s voters consider an amendment to North Carolina’s constitution limiting legal unions to marriage between a man and a woman.
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"The second you see your son dropping that limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist," Harris said in the Sunday sermon. "Man up. Give him a good punch."
"You’re not going to act like that," the pastor advised parents to tell their children. "You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.”
In an interview with the Fayetteville Observer, Harris said his comments were meant as a joke. In a video of the sermon posted online, laughter can be heard from some members of the congregation, as well as cries, of “Amen!” as the pastor spoke about responding to seemingly gay kids.
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Berean Baptist explains its stance on discipline of children on its website:
“Remembering the love and forgiveness that God has shown them, parents in turn should train their children with the purpose of reflecting the Heavenly Father to their children. Parents should consider their responsibility to be the instrument of discipline in their child’s life (Prov. 19:18). At times this may include appropriate and reasonable physical means (Prov. 10:13) employed upon the fleshy portion of the child’s buttocks (Prov. 22:15; 23:13); that this method is to be viewed as correction rather than punishment (Prov. 23:13); and that this correction will result in the child’s physical and spiritual betterment.”
Harris told the Observer that from within his church, "the response was, 'Pastor, we know you didn't mean that.'"
What do you think? Watch the above video to hear Harris’s remark and leave your comments below.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
People would be really angry if it were reversed and someone said... you see your child starting to talk about sin and how it's okay to hate people, that their angry god wants to send people to hell... you just given a good smack and make'em do some more math.. that'lll clear up their brains...
I wish religion was about loving kindness, not this endless hatred that makes it okay to hit people like me.
Excellent post, Max. You can add to math...some rudimentary science, archeology, history. That would clear up this religion thing once and for all. A basic High School education could actually be the remedy to this numb skull disease.
Ha ha, real funny joke there pastor. Perhaps we should break YOUR wrists as "correction." Or maybe you just missed the memo god sent out to love everyone.
it's official . . . you can beat the gay out of people . . .
Yes. Beat them with that big wooden cross that you just pulled out of your...
Too late. The genie is already out of the bottle. What a sorry excuse for a human. So much for religion.
wow.....pretty incredible that all hope for religion hinged on a hick pastor from backwoods north carolina. who knew?
Hank, do you really think that this is the only so-called pastor at the root of this problem? There's a huge bullying problem in the US and around the world that couldn't possibly exist without the backwards thinking of the Big Three. America used to be a safe place for LGBT people. Native Americans revered their two-spirited (meaning gay) people. They found them to be exceedingly wise and magical.
got to love the naivete of atheists. if only there was no religion we'd be living in a utopia! how cute.
The God of the old testament was not a Christian. These faux Christians don't really understand Jesus, they have uneducated people who believe every word these snake oil salesmen tell them. They pervert the true meaning of the new testament. Unfortunately, these people already drank the kool-aid.
I thought the bible was open for interpretation?
The NT views the OT through an entirely pagan lense. It's a cultural travesty and a very bad joke. Christians have no grasp of Judaism whatsoever and therefore misinterpret what Jesus supposedly thought and said. Of course there is no concrete historical evidence for Jesus, but that's another troublesome point entirely. My guess is that that there were plenty of crucified zealots named Yeshua (translated to Joshua, misltranslated to Jesus, meaning "God's Salvation") throughout the early first century CE. One of them, or perhaps several of them could have been the basis for today's Jesus. Marcus J. Borg's latest book Speaking Christian helps clear a few things up about Jesus' Jewish language. But it also unintentionally deconstructs Christianity. Good book, pardon the pun.
Simply put, this man is promoting child abuse and prejudice and it was premeditated.
Nothing new here...unfortunately. At least CNN is calling him out on it. Let's keep that up.
Another useless and unfelt apology from the religious right....this preacher is a punk hiding behind his faith just like the rest of them.
Another reason not to go to church.
I call my tomact numb nuts! Maybe I should call this guy the same! 🙂 🙂 🙂
thats tomcat and not tomact,,,,LoL
think you should punch a zealot instead.
Those that talk the talk and speak the loudest are just hiding behind their true feelings. I think the guy is gay! And a religious wacko!
People who think that Jesus was born in the United States and votes Republican would probably have pretty screwy ideas about other things as well.
I should know, I used to be a fundamental evangelical myself; but too much hate in the name of Christ for my tastes.
After listening to him and the supporting "amens" the audience is saying, I can only wonder why there is never a tornado around when you need one.
I heard a preacher on the radio tell the people in a town that was devastated by a tornado that it was because they passed the liquor law in the county.
That radio pastor was with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Corn Likker.
Love the Christian, hate their idiotic bigoted religion.
Oh that's good!
This is man is hatefull and I bet he is Gay, he looks gay and should be stripped of his bible.
It's a very safe bet that he is gay.
This idiot pastor is, indeed, probably gay. F'ck him.
What is wrong with hitting gay-acting kids? Maybe if you hit them enough they will come to their senses and be normal instead of some freak. I am not a christian. If one of my kids acted gay I would toss them off a cliff.
I hope you're sterile.
It would be interesting to know what secret you hold that would cause others to say the same about you? Think about it.
It's a very safe bet that you are gay, dude.
"Maybe if you hit them enough they will come to their senses and be normal "
The experts around the world hundreds of thousands of them have stated that being gay is a normal part of human sexuality. You need to be hit for not knowing the real truth on this subject since your prejudice isn't founded on real facts!
God must love offensive, mental degenerates; so many of them have been made.
Yes, and He wrote a whole Book about it as well.
Ask any preacher what they think about, Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace
Let's try that in English.
It is English just KJVB English translative! The way I see this one verse is the ten commandments are all thrown out the window all for the sake of peace!
If you want to sww what a liar this pinnacle of morality is, watch the video, then see if you agree with his rebuttal: "In an interview with the Fayetteville Observer, Harris said his comments were meant as a joke."
I think pastor sean has some sweetness in himself that he cant deal with. And his rant does nothing to dispell the stereotype of the redneck, bigoted southerner.
Love that toothless, banjo-strummin' set.
Nothing wrong with a little corporal punishment of minors for no good reason. I watch my son closely – if he even LOOKS as though he's trying to match his shirt to his pants I beat him senseless. I love religion! It makes it so much easier to not think.